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Perfection! Feedback Please

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Well I'm just getting started designing games and I wanted to know everyones ideas on formatting a design. I think I'm pretty decent with coming up with great ideas however it dosn't matter how good the idea is if no one can understand it. I've heard a few examples on story boarding and out lines but they both have to do with drawing. I can think and write ideas and explain visuals pretty well but I can't draw to save my life, not even roughly. Even my handwriting is terrible. Baring all that in mind, every design I come up with ends up being a sort of mechanical sounding (a weak attempt to save space) summary of a great game. There's good ideas but in a professional setting I don't believe I'd get by. Could someone give me an example of outlining? A good example of what I do now is this(the story is off the top of my head but the mechanics are real):
Story of The Sword
A 3rd person action RPG revolving around a young man named Shiro and his battles against the evil empire. Shiro has been a mercenary all of his life and every mercenary is given a blade called a Jungo. In usual RPGs, the weapons don't take any essential role.Usually the character starts off with a rather weak weapon then as they progress they either buy or earn a more powerful one then what they used before. One mechanic of this title is that the sword is an actual part of this character. There are slots simalar to in FF7..... The above would go on explaining every aspect of the game (with a much better, planned out story of course, but the point was to see my formatting). This is the most comfortable method I can come up with but I would like to learn to be more professional if this isn't genarally accepted.

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There isn't any official way to format and write a game design document. It's like a CV, sure there are plenty of templates out there but really when it comes down to it it's about communication. You want to communicate what the game is like to play.

I would use a process similar to painting. Use wide strokes to describe the feeling of the same, the general genre, the general feeling playing the game. Start fleshing out the details, fill in a bit of the back story in detail - just a bit, not the whole thing. Paint in detail what a part of a level will be like, try to choose a part where different things are happening. Select interesting parts of the game experience and illustrate them with detail.

The end result is an expressionistic view of the game, enough detail here and there to follow the general idea. Of course you can continue and fill out more of the game design if needed, but you will probably be surprised of the actual amount required to get a good view of the game.

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Umbrae is right there is not a standard for a GDD (Game design document) but there is alot of templates one of the more commonly used ones is http://www.ihfsoft.com/files/docs/ctaylordesigntemplate.zip which is Chris Taylor's original format from many Game Creation books.

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This thread was exactly what I was looking for on how to sort of "get started" ... I've been playing MMORPG's for 4 years now since the SWG release. And I want to see what its like to design one.

Thanks a ton for the .zip ... great thread! :)

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Generally when I get an idea its usually a game mechanic. Once I have a rough idea of how it may work, I will jump and start thinking of a back story. Basically working in pieces until I get something coherent, but I try to follow this outline (not nessecarily done in order, or done one by one <- writing bits and pieces etc).

Note: I haven't compiled a full game design document so there will be some sections missing.

-Overview
--Introduction
--Features
--Engine (or specific engine features required)

-Story
--Back Story (History, usually there to have coherency and meaning for the beginning)
--The Beginning (Actual Storyline being introduced during the game)
--Missions

-World(specific maps or descriptions)

-Characters (if any)

-Gameplay
--Genre
--Specific Mechanics (brief overview i.e. shooting system, leveling sustem, battle system etc)
--Multiplayer (if any)

-Appendix
--Full History and Storyline
--Detailed Game Mechanics --Any large figures/images

------

Obviously not a lot of detail but I still hope it helps :)

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Writing it all in words will be OK but pictures of some sort would make it easier I think. However it doesn't need to be a story board, you could use Visio etc to make flow-charts and that kind of thing. No art required!

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